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Dean Search - Position Description

Dean of the Duke Sanford School of Public Policy

The Sanford School is seeking a highly respected public policy intellectual and dynamic leader to serve as Dean.

The mission of the Sanford School of Public Policy is to educate tomorrow’s leaders and to improve the quality of public policymaking through research, professional training, and policy and community engagement.  The Dean of the Sanford School is the chief academic and administrative officer of the School, leads the School in fulfilling this mission, and reports to the Provost and President.

The Sanford School’s current academic offerings include one of Duke’s largest undergraduate majors, master’s degree programs in public policy (MPP), international development policy (MIDP), and environmental policy (program at Duke Kunshan University jointly administered with the Nicholas School of the Environment), a PhD program, a joint PhD program with the Nicholas School of the Environment (UPEP), as well as a number of multidisciplinary research centers and programs. The MPP candidates also may earn joint or concurrent professional degrees in law, business, divinity, medicine, or environmental policy.

The Dean is responsible for the following activities:

Strategic Planning

The Dean of the Sanford School is responsible to the Provost and President for ongoing strategic planning for the Sanford School that provides:

  • a long-range vision, specific strategies, and detailed administrative and fiscal provisions to ensure the excellence of the School's faculty, its research and teaching programs, and its participation in interdisciplinary and cross-School and Institute collaborations,
  • the diversity of its faculty and staff, and
  • its engagements with external constituencies.

In exercising this planning leadership, the Dean works closely with the Provost, the University's senior officers, and with the other Deans.

Faculty Appointments and Career Development

The Dean of the Sanford School is responsible to the Provost and President for the recruitment, appointment, reappointment, promotion, and tenure of faculty in the School. The Dean works through the established appointment, promotion, and tenure process of the University and is responsible for maintaining its integrity in the Sanford School. The Dean works with the faculty and sometimes collaborates with other Deans or Institute or Initiative Directors to develop the School's annual recruiting plans for the approval of the Provost. The Dean is responsible for ensuring that the School meets the University's objectives with respect to the quality and diversity of the faculty, the creation of an inclusive intellectual environment, and the development of a leadership pipeline.

Research, Outreach, and Educational Programming

The Dean of the Sanford School works with the senior leadership of the School, the faculty, and Duke administrators:

  • to create an academic environment promoting the highest quality research,
  • to facilitate policy and community engagement that improves the quality of public policymaking at the local, state, national, and global levels,
  • to recruit and admit students in high academic standing and provide them with a world-class educational experience that includes learning and leadership opportunities on campus and outside the classroom, and
  • to work closely with Center Directors in the School, to provide strategic guidance, to supply budgetary oversight, and to oversee periodic reviews.

Budgetary and Administrative Oversight

The Dean of the Sanford School is responsible to the Provost and President for all aspects of the School's budget consistent with the University's management center budget system.  In addition to budgetary oversight, the other principal areas of administrative responsibility include the allocation of academic space, planning for future academic facilities’ needs, and responsibility for non-faculty staffing decisions within the context of University-wide policies and procedures.

Stewardship and Development

The Dean represents the University to important constituents, including various national and international groups. The Dean is also responsible for alumni relations and stewardship of its Alumni Council, Board of Visitors, and the Duke Board of Trustees. The Dean has primary responsibility for raising new financial resources for the School and articulating the development needs of the Sanford School in conjunction with the long-range plans of the School and the University. The Dean works collegially with the Provost, President, and other Deans in planning University-wide funding priorities and goals, cooperates with the University Development staff in executing those plans, and manages the development team of the Sanford School. 


The Dean is responsible for the success and well-being of the School.  The Dean will work with the faculty and staff in accordance with School bylaws to insure its active involvement in the development of the long-range strategic plans, major budgetary priorities, and other important activities and issues that affect the well-being of the School and its place in the University.  The Dean is a member of the Deans Cabinet and may also be appointed to other University committees as the representative of the Sanford School.

In order to succeed in these tasks, the Dean must be:

  • an intellectual leader among the faculty, who can be expected to have the highest aspirations in faculty hiring and retention,
  • an effective fund-raiser,
  • an innovative, energetic, and conscientious administrator broadly familiar with issues in higher education,
  • a strong advocate for the Sanford School and its core teaching, research, and engagement mission in the context of the University’s strategic commitment to internationalization, interdisciplinarity, and knowledge in the service of society,
  • a strong proponent for a diverse faculty and student body,
  • a collaborator with fellow Deans, the President and Provost in promoting University priorities,
  • both a consensus builder as well as a decision maker, and
  • a preeminent University citizen.

August 2017

Duke University is an Affirmative Action/Equal Opportunity Employer committed to providing employment opportunity without regard to an individual’s age, color, disability, genetic information, gender, gender identity, national origin, race, religion, sexual orientation, or veteran status.